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Ready for more

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD - For some Habs prospects at this time of year, the end is really just the beginning. While rookie camp closes on Friday, the majority of its participants won’t be heading home any time soon. Set to hit the ice with the pros when the big camp opens this Saturday, the young guns were already looking to the future after their last practice of the week.

Feels like home

In a few hours, Max Pacioretty will be right back in his element. After being shuttled between Hamilton and Montreal last year, the 20-year-old is no stranger to life in the NHL. While he may be feeling right at home in Montreal this week, Pacioretty isn’t about to relax in his comfort zone.

“It’s pretty much like it was last year. I have to work as hard as possible and I have to prove myself to the coaching staff that I can find a spot on this roster. I know what to expect during the camp, I know what to expect the speed to be like in the NHL and I know what to expect my role to be in those games.”

With an extra year of seasoning under his belt, Pacioretty is set to reveal the newer, more offensive version of his former self to fans in Montreal.

“I think I’m a different player now. I’m a lot more confident this year. Last year I only had three goals while I was up with the Canadiens but I’m confident that I can put pucks in the net and I’m going to show people that I can do it when camp comes around.”

Teacher’s pet

When it comes to Habs training camps, P.K. Subban is a grizzled veteran. About to hit the ice for his third camp with the Canadiens, Saturday should be just another day at the office for the shifty defenseman.

“For me, tomorrow is just about doing the same job I’ve been doing since I was 5 years old,” explained the ever-grinning blue-liner. “I’m concentrating on just working hard and having fun and I know if I’m having fun, I’ll be playing my best hockey. I’m excited – it’s time for the serious stuff now.”

As part of his offseason training this summer, Subban hit the books to give his language skills a workout as well. Set to officially turn pro this year, the 20-year-old has been prepping for life in Montreal by learning French.

“During the summer I took three-hour French lessons twice a week. It’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be,” admitted the former Belleville Bulldogs star. “I’m not going to lie and say it’s coming along great, but it is coming along. It’s going to take some time and it’s going to take some patience.”

Meet the new guy

While it’s no secret that the Canadiens added a few new faces to the roster this summer, there have been a few changes down on the farm as well. This offseason, right winger Eric Neilson signed on with the Bulldogs, coming to Hamilton after spending last season with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen. The hard-nosed forward who led all Rivermen with 207 penalty minutes in 50 games last year, can’t wait to extend his stay in Montreal after getting the call to join the big camp this week.

“Coming here a week before the main camp opens and skating as intensely as we could has been a great preparation for what’s coming. Having the Canadiens and Bulldogs coaches on the ice with us has really helped push us to work our hardest and get us into hockey mode. My goal this week is just to show everyone in the organization what I can bring to the team.”

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Shauna Denis

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